When Oregon’s Willamette Valley region vintners were figuring out the best varieties to plant in their earthy, volcanic soils they knew Chardonnay would be a good fit. The micro-climate was ideal for growing racy, zesty, cool-climate wines. Vintners acquired rootstock and began planting, only finding a few years later when harvesting their hopeful first crops and crafting their first vintages that the Chardonnay wasn’t delivering exactly what they had hoped for. Much of the Chardonnay clones that were planted had come from California, using the old Wente clones that thrive throughout much of the state, absorbing the sunshine and creating luscious, rich, medium-bodied wines. However, these sunshine and heat-loving clones didn’t thrive in the cooler climate of Northwest Oregon.
That was when the region looked to the home of Chardonnay, Burgundy, France. Led by David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyards, (whom I have credited many times with figuring out how to craft premium Chardonnay in Willamette Valley,) Willamette Valley wine producers began acquiring Dijon clones of Chardonnay to craft what has become the signature taste and style of Willamette Valley Chardonnay.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Dijon Clones Chardonnay ($25) (a steal for the price) is rich and round, while maintaining a zesty freshness. Juicy tropical pineapple, golden apple, and pear open the wine, melding seamlessly with honey, fresh cream, and a touch of crushed stone minerality. Lengthy and lovely, with a touch of toasted cedar and spice on the end. #Cheers